MDeC an ‘output-driven’ organisation, says its CEO

  • Describes realignments in 2011 and 2012 as necessary to stay market-focused
  • IP ownership key to three players hitting US$500mil revenue target set by MDeC

MDeC an ‘output-driven’ organisation, says its CEOWHILE some Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) managers, and the industry as a whole, are bemused by the number of times the national ICT custodian has reorganised in the past two or three years, its chief executive officer Badlisham Ghazali (pic) is actually glad.
“Personally, as CEO, I would be very concerned if we did not constantly realign to meet the changing market and the needs of our MSC Malaysia companies,” he says, referring to companies in the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) development hub.
Describing MDeC as an “output-driven organisation that does things to effect an outcome,” he adds that the setting of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – which are created to meet customer expectations – is a key tool used to get at the desired output.
The organisational realignment that follows is then the way to reallocate resources and priorities to help staff meet their KPIs, Badlisham argues.
To recap, MDeC is now in the third and final phase of the realisation of the MSC Malaysia vision. Phase Three runs from 2011 to 2020 and entails the following outcomes as announced in October 2010 at the 22nd Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) and the 13th MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel (IAP) meeting:

  • The infusion of technology across all economic sectors in driving productivity and innovation;
  • Making Malaysia a vibrant hub for the creation of ICT solutions, leading to becoming a net exporter;
  • ICT empowerment as a source of national competitive advantage; and
  • Pervasive use of ICT to increase the quality of fife across all communities.

All four outcomes are embedded in Digital Malaysia, kind of a successor to MSC Malaysia and which aims to transform the nation into a digital economy.
The rollout of Digital Malaysia, which the agency oversees as well, caused a major realignment in MDeC towards the end of 2011, and the setting of new KPIs for its staff.
“Never changing KPIs means you are probably not listening to market and customer needs, and that, clearly, is not good,” says Badlisham.
He says the biggest visible change he has seen since coming on board as CEO in January, 2006 has been the growth in headcount and budget of the talent management division, from around five people to 20 over today and with a budget in the tens of millions.
“It was initially about capacity-building, but an alignment was required for that division because the companies were telling us that we had to initiate direct intervention into the market in the short term to help them meet their talent needs,” he says.
There was also a “minor realignment” to allocate resources to the Creative Multimedia and Content cluster, specifically in the areas of licensing and merchandising, where more needed to be done.
“We had to allocate some headcount and ensure training was being conducted to help the companies move up the value chain,” Badlisham says.
MSC Malaysia is divided into three clusters, with the other two being the Infotech and Shared Services & Outsourcing clusters.
Pipe dream – or still doable?
A few years ago Badlisham told national news agency Bernama that he hoped to see three world-class homegrown companies with US$500 million revenue each by 2015.
Today, that looks like a pipe dream to most, but Badlisham is still hopeful it can be done, just not by 2015 and with a different niche of MSC companies.
“When I made that statement, I was looking at our shared services and outsourcing (SSO) firms and benchmarked them against the size of the Indian players, but with just an Asian focus,” Badlisham explains.
But the world has been changing, even more so in the tech industry, and he feels the SSO players have hit a plateau and now need to form joint ventures with international partners to win more global business.
“It is not that they are not capable. Some have won business in Europe and Japan, but seem to have hit a ceiling in terms of scaling and these joint ventures are a way around that,” he says of the SSO sector.
He points out that even the Indian tech companies are getting hit by changing market expectations.

Badlisham’s own expectations are that the US$500-million revenue company will not come from the services sector but from companies which have their own intellectual property from which they can license or build a product or service around.
MDeC has identified a number of promising companies in this space with global ambitions, and with entrepreneurs who have gone around the block and are more savvy in spotting both a market opportunity and how to raise funding for it.

“They see the world through a more realistic lens, and hopefully from this group we have identified, will come the three icons we are looking for – all will likely have their own intellectual property.”
But it won’t happen by 2015.
Previous Instalments:
Malaysia's homegrown players not on fast growth track
A festering pain, and MDeC goes to the Valley
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